Chronicling the uninsured: A yearlong look that combines policy, narrative

Joanne Kenen

About Joanne Kenen

Joanne Kenen, (@JoanneKenen) the health editor at Politico, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health reform and curates related material at She welcomes questions and suggestions on health reform resources and tip sheets at Follow her on Facebook.

Bloomberg Health reporter John Tozzi has written a terrific “how I did it” essay summing up a yearlong project on Chronicling America’s Uninsured that really delved deeply into who can’t afford health insurance – or chooses not to pay the high cost – and what they experience.

It’s a powerful combination of policy and narrative in a way we don’t often hear. And he showed that health care and insurance isn’t just beyond reach of the poor or working class. It’s a crisis for growing numbers of people much further up the income ladder. Continue reading

Forensic odontologist faces grim task of identifying wildfire victims

Mary Otto

About Mary Otto

Mary Otto, a Washington, D.C.-based freelancer, is AHCJ's topic leader on oral health and the author of "Teeth: The Story of Beauty, Inequality, and the Struggle for Oral Health in America." She can be reached at

In the wake of California’s latest spate of devastating wildfires, teams of forensic specialists have faced the grim task of assigning names to victims whose remains are brought to the morgue in Sacramento from the site of the Camp Fire in Butte County.

Sometimes, the specialists have mere fragments of the dead to work with. And sometimes those fragments are teeth, or bits of dental crowns or fillings. Continue reading

Get ready to cover the coming tide of clinical research preprints

Tara Haelle

About Tara Haelle

Tara Haelle (@TaraHaelle) is AHCJ's medical studies core topic leader, guiding journalists through the jargon-filled shorthand of science and research and enabling them to translate the evidence into accurate information.

The bread and butter of medical research reporting traditionally has been coverage of peer-reviewed studies. However, some new kids are threatening to elbow their way into the conversation and reporters should be prepared.

Preprints aren’t exactly new to scientific research in general, but are a recent phenomenon within biological research and rapidly growing, according to graphs at PrePubMed, a preprint aggregator and indexer similar to but unaffiliated with PubMed. Preprints also are making their way into medical/clinical research. Continue reading

Zika still a threat in Puerto Rico, but government stopped tracking it

Bara Vaida

About Bara Vaida

Bara Vaida (@barav) is AHCJ's core topic leader on infectious diseases. An independent journalist, she has written extensively about health policy and infectious diseases. Her work has appeared in outlets that include the National Journal, Agence France-Presse, Bloomberg News, McClatchy News Service, MSNBC, NPR, Politico and The Washington Post.

Photo: Ben Pender-Cudlip / The GroundTruth Project

The government of Puerto Rico has reported no cases of people with the Zika virus since early 2017, which might lead pregnant women to believe the Zika threat has faded, but investigative reporter Beth Murphy found a very different story in 2018. The Zika virus is still carried by mosquitoes on the island, and pregnant women remain at serious risk.

Continue reading

Getting sources on the record when loved ones are involved

Liz Seegert

About Liz Seegert

Liz Seegert (@lseegert), is AHCJ’s topic editor on aging. Her work has appeared in, Journal of Active Aging, Cancer Today, Kaiser Health News, the Connecticut Health I-Team and other outlets. She is a senior fellow at the Center for Health Policy and Media Engagement at George Washington University and co-produces the HealthCetera podcast.

Photo : Kelsey Kremer, Des Moines RegisterLinnea and Gailen Clausen share a moment outside the central Iowa nursing home where he lives, three hours away from their northwest Iowa home. Other nursing homes rejected Gailen Clausen, 55, because his early onset dementia caused confusion and anxiety, which sometimes led him to be aggressive toward staff.

Nursing homes are supposed to be places that care for ill, frail adults — many of whom also suffer from Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. The disease takes a terrible toll on those who have it, whether it’s forgetting who their loved ones are, forgetting how to eat or use the toilet, or sliding into a state of agitation and violence. That’s the time when more nursing homes are saying “enough.”

And, as Tony Leys writes in this article for the Des Moines Register last fall, they’re kicking them out, sometimes even if there’s nowhere else for them to go. Continue reading

Welcome AHCJ’s newest members

Len Bruzzese

About Len Bruzzese

Len Bruzzese is the executive director of AHCJ and its Center for Excellence in Health Care Journalism. He also is an associate professor at the Missouri School of Journalism and served for nearly 20 years in daily journalism.

welcome-matPlease welcome these new professional and student members to AHCJ.

All new members are welcome to stop by this post’s comment section to introduce themselves. Continue reading